San Diego, CA

Top 3 Chicken Sandwich Spots to Check Out in San Diego

Dinh Lee

As you may know, the world went completely chicken sandwich crazy in the last couple of years, but that craze is still going strong and there are constantly new chicken sandwich spots showing up throughout the city. With that being sad, the amount of options out there is truly overwhelming so it is important to find the ones that are the highest rated and most worth checking out. Of course, this is all pretty subjective and everyone can have very different tastes when it comes to chicken sandwiches, but a compilation of reviews that are based off my personal experience as well as ratings found on the internet. For me personally, I can not speak for the spicy chicken sandwich lovers out there (I am so sorry) because I simply do not enjoy spice and I prefer to eat my chicken sandwiches naked with no spice. I know there are a lot of spicy fans out there so that is why I also included ratings and reviews from other sources that would encompass the opinions of spicy chicken sandwich fans.

As a note, I have chosen to exclude fast food options for this list, so that includes Popeyes, KFC, Chick-Fil-A, etc., all of which will not be present on this list. However, I am a huge fan of the Popeyes chicken sandwich, do not tell anyone I said that.

1. Dave's Hot Chicken
dave's hot chicken

Is it even a chicken sandwich list if Dave's Hot Chicken is not on the list? I very much feel obligated to add this spot on the list, but they absolutely deserve the spot. Dave's Hot Chicken is an absolute classic, with several locations throughout the city and across many other cities.

Other than their high quality and delicious sandwiches, they are probably most well known for their extremely levels of spices, in particular, they are known for the amount of spice levels they offer as well as the intensity of the spices. Their spice levels currently vary from no spice all the way to reaper which is six levels above the no spice level. In between we have lite mild, mild, medium, hot, and extra hot. Dave's Hot Chicken is consistently praised for the spice levels that they offer while also maintaining the flavor of a delicious chicken sandwich and the juiciness that is crucial to any chicken sandwich.

They also offer tenders which are very popular. Their menu is on the smaller side, but that is generally how the best restaurants are: small menu, but amazing quality for the items that they do have.

2. Main Chick
main chick

Main Chick is a personal favorite of mine but definitely more of an underdog, especially compared to the big name Dave's Hot Chicken. Main Chick has some very juicy and flavorful chicken sandwiches, they also have several varying levels of spice including naked, mild, medium and supreme. Their supreme level definitely does get up there, a lot spicier than a lot of chicken sandwich spots are willing to go. However, their spice I more manageable in the sense that it is still enjoyable at such a high level. Like Dave's Hot Chicken, they also do a great job of maintaining a pleasant and tasty flavor even when the spice level is incredibly high.

I personally think that Main Chick's specialty and what makes them stand out to me is their dark meat chicken sandwich which is so difficult to find at other restaurants. It is the juiciest chicken sandwich ever because it uses the dark meat. It is super tender and flavorful and just overall such a delight to eat. It was a lifechanging experience for me.

One thing I also respect so much is that their naked option (which is my option of choice, do not judge me) is still so flavorful, they do not rely on the spice to give the sandwich flavor, the seasoning in the batter is already so great. If you are looking for a completely not spicy chicken sandwich, this is absolutely the spot I would recommend.

For more information on Main Chick, you can read my full, detailed article here:

3. Rhythm's Chicken and Waffles

This is kind of a curveball as they specialize in chicken and waffles, but that does not mean you can exclude or underestimate them! They are more known for their chicken waffle sandwich which is amazing and I definitely recommend it if you want to change things up a little compared to the basic chicken sandwich, but they also do have regular chicken sandwiches.

Rhythm's Chicken and Waffles offers a slightly larger variety with varying flavors and accouterments to decorate the sandwiches. They take a lot more creative liberties when it comes to their menu items while the last two spots were more focused on the very traditional chicken sandwich, so it really depends on what you are looking for creative options can be fun every so often, or if you happen to really love their flavor pairings, it can be a long term thing.

Follow me on Instagram @sanfodiego for more food related content and recommendations!

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Join me on my quest to eat at all the best restaurants in town and around the world! Follow me on Instagram @sanfoodiego for more food recs.

San Diego, CA

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